Tax law affects all areas of activity, both professional and private.
The number of rules rises and they become more complicated every year, so that it is often difficult for the non-specialist to understand the full scope of application and consequences thereof.
In this context, our tax department offers services in general tax law (personal income tax, corporate income tax, international taxation, etc.), certain specific, highly specialised services (estate planning, banking and financial taxation, life insurance taxation, local government taxation and tax litigation, VAT) as well as proactive and effective support for all types of cases handled by other departments.
The partners and staff in the department are recognised tax practitioners, and regular speakers and contributors to numerous publications and academic seminars. They focus on searching for pragmatic solutions that are easy to implement and tailored to the circumstances of each case.
Belgian and international estate planning
The civil and tax rules governing wealth and estate planning mean that it is now possible to transfer wealth from one generation to the next, while respecting all dimensions of the family.
Successful planning will require the definition of goals to be achieved (ensuring the continued lifestyle of a surviving spouse after a death, guaranteeing good management, helping a child, maintaining a balance between heirs, etc.) and flexible implementation, capable of adjusting to the inevitable changes in life.
These questions, initially complex, are often further complicated by the presence of members of the family abroad. Thanks to a network of personal relationships with foreign lawyers who are experts in the subject, our practice enables us to cover several different jurisdictions in Europe and beyond.
- Recognised mastery of the civil and tax rules enabling us to offer pragmatic and creative solutions
- Listening and taking account of all family dimensions
- International network enabling us to take account of the presence of members of the family abroad.
Life insurance taxation
The “patrimonial” life insurance that is categorised in “branches” 21 (contract offering a guaranteed return), 23 (contract linked to an investment fund, without guaranteed income) or 26 (capitalisation product) are currently very common investment products, mainly due to an attractive tax system and the flexibility they can offer in the context of estate planning.
However, these contracts are subject to special regulations and relatively complex tax systems (tax on insurance premiums, taxation or exemption of redemptions, application of inheritance rights), which must be combined in the case of multiple support agreements.
Our tax department has very special expertise in these products and offers its services to both private individuals and insurers or brokers, both Belgian and foreign.
Banking and financial taxation
The Belgian tax system for financial investments is complex and unclear, but this complexity is often hidden from the eyes of investors by the fact that financial intermediaries have been made responsible for its implementation.
Our tax department has special expertise in:
- The analysis of financial products from a tax point of view (classification of income from movable assets and application of a deduction)
- Tax on stock exchange transactions (TOB)
- Securities accounts tax (TCT)
- The “subscription” tax on UCITS (Undertaking for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities)
- Problems related to double taxation of income from movable assets and, in particular, dividends.
- The applicable rules relating to the automatic exchange of information (AEI) and their consequences for financial intermediaries and clients
This expertise enables us to assist both individual investors and financial institutions or fund managers, Belgian or foreign.
Belgian local authorities have considerable independence in tax matters, although this is restricted by certain constitutional rules (the principles of equality and non-discrimination in particular) and legal rules (mainly the ban on imposing direct taxes on income).
Our office has considerable experience in assisting with the preparation of tax regulations and defending the interests of both municipalities and taxpayers.
Litigation and regularisation
The complexity of tax rules, the growing criminalisation of failure to comply with them, the multiplication of obligations concerning declarations, exchanges of information and anti-money laundering are some of the factors that have contributed to a considerable rise in tax litigation.
The tax department assists its clients, both private individuals and companies, with all stages of litigation and for all types of tax (corporate tax, personal income tax, VAT, registration fees, estate tax, financial taxes, etc.).
The department assists its clients who are private individuals in relation to requests for information regarding which taxpayers holding assets abroad have been targeted in recent months.
Our philosophy, in all circumstances, is to offer clients a realistic outlook bearing in mind their situation and their options at an administrative level (claim, agreement, arbitration) and a judiciary level.
In this regard, our department has acquired considerable experience in negotiations with the tax administration (particularly in relation to “Panama papers” cases) and in legal regularisation procedures (e.g. DLU bis, ter and quater).
In order to determine with absolute certainty the tax regime that will apply to a particular operation or event and to give the client complete legal certainty, it is possible to obtain in advance a ruling specific to the client from the administration.
Such requests can concern a well-known subject for which the client wants confirmation specific to their situation or questions concerning situations for which the tax regime is yet to be specified.